GREENVILLE, Calif. — The Dixie Fire is now the second-largest wildfire in California history.
By Monday morning, officials said the Northern California fire had burned more than 489,000 acres across Butte, Lassen, Plumas, and Tehama counties and it was 21% contained.
CalFire says the Dixie Fire has surpassed the 2018’s Mendocino Complex fire that burned 459,123 acres, and 2020’s SCU Lightning Complex fire that spread across 396,624 acres. The only larger fire in the state’s history was the August Complex fire that burned over 1 million acres last year.
Since the Dixie Fire became active on July 14, officials say it has destroyed more than 500 structures and devastated entire communities. The blaze has been fueled by strong winds and extremely dry vegetation in the area.
Last week, the fire destroyed most downtown and dozens of homes in the gold rush-era community of Greenville, The Associated Press reports. A museum, medical officers, fire equipment, and structures significant to a Native American tribe were reportedly lost.
No deaths from the fire have been reported yet, but CalFire says three firefighters have been injured while battling the blaze, NPR reports.
The Dixie Fire is one of many burning in the West as the region prepares for a potentially destructive fire season. Many scientists believe the increased drought conditions and subsequent fires are at least partly a result of climate change.
States east of California are experiencing some effects of the wildfires in the West as well. Smoke from the fires caused extremely poor air quality in states like Utah and Colorado in the past few days. Over the weekend, Denver’s air quality was considered the worst in the world.